Economic and sustainable production is among the most recent and enduring challenges being faced by the manufacturing area nowadays. The Additive Manufacturing (AM), capable of producing with flexibility, fully automation and sustainability, arises with a strong appeal to replace traditional processes such as casting, forging and conventional machining. AM technology was addressed in a workshop at IPT in 2015, with the presence of directors, researchers and representatives from industry and FAPESP. Due to the importance of the subject, it was suggested a gathering of main institutions working with AM in the state of Sao Paulo, in order to align the efforts for further development of such recent and innovative manufacturing technology. After a series of meetings the team put together the present proposal and highlights that future developments using AM technology are, however, marked by a number of technological challenges, some of them addressed in the project proposed herein. The surface finishing of workpieces produced by AM is one of them, since it may not meet some high performance applications. Thus, subtractive processes such as High Speed Machining/Grinding (HSM/G) may be employed, creating a new class of processes known as Hybrid Processes (HPr). Other issues within this almost unknown field are the metallurgical quality and the right amount of stock to machine the workpieces. In order to manage them, the whole powder production route, AM and HSM/G parameters have to be known and controlled, also a subject proposed to be studied by the present project. Regarding AM, two processes are being addressed: the Powder Bed Deposition-PBD and the Direct Energy Deposition-DED. The former uses laser to selectively bonds a tiny layer of metal powder, building the workpiece by adding sequential layers. The latter uses laser to create a fused pool over the substrate, injecting at it powder using a flow of inert gas. Following that, pool material is added creating the 3D shape. Finally, the present proposal aims to organize the researches and knowledge acquired to apply them into two particularly suitable products as a benchmark for a broad field of applications: a mold for injection molding of thermoplastics, and a turbine blade commonly used in energy generation plants. Both products will be obtained by using the HPr developed during the project. The outcome of the present research project will certainly promote scientific and technological advancements in AM, as well as it will contribute to create new resources in this most recent and innovative engineering area. In addition to that, the project intends to go beyond the average research goals by applying the newly acquired knowledge to manufacture real parts, which grants to it a strong innovative feature too. Annual workshops involving the project team and industrial partners are among the planned targets, as well as patent requests for possibly new processes, procedures and products.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: